Guest Author - Carla Cano
Walking for weight loss is achievable with minimal planning and minimal effort. That does not mean there isn't work to be done but it is one of the easiest ways to start your weight loss journey. It is recommended when walking for weight loss to walk 60 to 90 minutes at moderate to vigorous intensities. There are several ways to create a customizable walking program for your specific weight loss goals. The most important thing to do is simply to start being more active and walking certainly gets your body moving.
Many people claim a lack of time as the number one reason they do not get adequate exercise. Exercising at a vigorous intensity can cut the amount of time you need to invest in your aerobic activities by as much as half. Vigorous activities increase your heart rate quickly and keeps your heart rate at the 70-85% of your target heart rate. Vigorous routines can be done for 30 – 45 minutes and still achieve weight loss benefits. To gauge your exertion level you can use the target heart rate method or gauge your ability to carry on a conversation. You should not be gasping for air but also not able to carry on a conversation while exercising at a vigorous exertion level.
Moderate activities require a longer time commitment while staying in the 50 – 70 % of your target heart rate. To effectively lose weight at this level of intensity walk at a brisk pace for 60 to 90 minutes daily. You should be able to carry on a conversation using short sentences as opposed to regular conversation to determine if you are working at a moderate exertion level. Working at a lower exertion rate does not necessarily mean you will lose less weight or that working at a higher exertion will increase weight loss, the amount of time and the exertion rates work together to achieve the most beneficial results. Take into consideration your fitness level and the amount of time you can set aside to exercise to determine which method you should use daily for success in your weight loss goals.
Interval walking is another way to aid in your weight loss goals. Interval walking is a safe way to go from moderate to vigorous workouts. It's done by increasing your intensity in short bursts. This increases your heart rate without having to maintain a particular target rate the entire workout. Once you have warmed up and achieved your brisk walk increase your speed to a light jog for 30 seconds to one minute, then back to a brisk walk for three to five minutes, then repeat for the duration of your walk, followed by a cool down. Taking small steps over a period of time is healthier for your heart and will strengthen your lungs and body to be able to sustain higher levels of exertion. By incorporating interval walking you are preparing your body for more prolonged exertion of vigorous workouts.
It is important for those that are making a lifestyle change from a sedentary lifestyle to a more active lifestyle to be sure to check with your doctor. Have a conversation about your goals and your specific plans to reach those goals. Start slowly with short walking goals, however walk daily increasing the amount of time over several walking sessions. The success of your weight loss plans hinge on changing old habits. After a long day at work it's easy to sit in front of the TV or opt to go out for dinner instead of cooking yourself. Behaviors and thought patterns take time and effort to change. So invite your favorite people to join you and go for a walk, breathe deeply, and smile!